Albacore is fished around the whole world,but it is rare in the Japanese fisheries. Only a very small amount is caught during June and July in the Shizuoka, Miyazaki,and Okinawa regions (in the Pacific currents), so most of them are imported from other countries. Although rare in Japan, it is not expensive, for the flesh isn’t favorable for sushi. Most sushi restaurants do not use it, but they are popular in the more casual style revolving sushi franchises. It had a bad reputation among sushi chefs for its soft flesh, but that will change soon.
The Albacore is about 3 feet long, and roughly 55lbs at its largest stage, and considered a very small tuna. The pectoral fins (bin in Japanese fishery terminology) are uniquely long, and therefore named the binnagamaguro. (naga, meaning long), and nicknamed the dragonfly (tombo).
Reproduction usually occurs from November to February and is oviparous. An adult female can release over 2 million eggs in a single cycle. Fry generally stay near where they were spawned for about a year before moving on.
Albacore is widely used for canned tuna, and is also good prepared as a meuniere, or fried with bread crumbs. The meat is tender and flaky when cooked and like all tuna, it is fairly high in fat content. The best choice for shiro maguro is to use troll- or pole-caught albacore tuna from British Columbia or the United States.